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Old 07-04-2012, 01:02 PM   #57
troy safari carpente
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Question Victory on debut...?

Originally Posted by Pete640 View Post
TSC - has any factory manufacturer or other entrant won Dakar on their debut outing???

Well, obviously - other than Cyril Neveu who won the very first Dakar rally in 1979 on an XT 500 Yamaha - no rider/manufacturer that I can recall has won a Dakar on their debut... no.

But I (think I ?) see where you are going with this line of reasoning; ie. could a newly formed factory team (like B/F or the HRC outfit) win a DAKAR at their first attempt, with a new bike?

It is an interesting point to consider, and their are a number of parallels one could draw to other past DAKAR factory team Moto victories that - by definition - were not strictly speaking "debut" entries by either the factory or riders concerned, but worthy of mention in this context - never the less. So indulge me if you will...

1981 Hubert Auriol won the Dakar on a HPN prepared BMW R/80 GS. Now I'm not sure if this was Auriols first attempt at the race, nor was HPN a novice at building big bore offroad competition bikes (having a heap of experience from the ISDT from a number of years prior). Auriol won again in 1983 on a similar bike, and this was the catalyst that led to Gaston Rahier taking back to back wins in 1984/85 for Marlboro BMW... Arguably the first big factory Moto team in the events history. Certaily it was the dayglo orange and white Playboy sponsored BMW that helped cement the image of Dakar in the motorcycling press... the image of these bikes is still recognisable in "Dakar" terms even today;

1986 to 1998 was the hey day of the big multi rider factory teams from Rothmans Honda, LUCKY STRIKE Cagiva and SONAUTO GauloiseYamaha / BYRD Chesterfield YAMAHA. They all had BIG budgets, testing programs and top pilots on their squads... All three manufacturers achieved multiple victories over this period, but none achieved what could be termed a "debut win" (neither rider or make).

BMW had been away from Dakar (at a factory level) in any great way shape or form for a number of years, but during 1998 the BMW brass decided they wanted to once again compete at Dakar and market the F650 single cylinder... as opposed to the boxer motor that had served them so many years. BMW enlisted the services of Richard Schalber to engineer and run a team of F 650 based machines at the 1999 Dakar, which they won with Richard Sainct on the bike... and repeated the feat again in 2000.

Though while strictly not a works factory team, it was a fully BMW funded and supported effort, that was put together in record time. The team and bike came to Dakar on debut in 1999 and (Sainct had competed before). They backed up the result in 2000... and then almost as quickly, disbanded... no more factory BMW at Dakar (for a number of years... until the Speedbrain/BMW thing eventuated almost a decade later).

KTM had competed on the Dakar from the early to mid 90's with modest efforts supporting (at first) soley Kinigadner and then others. Using various incarnations of the LC4 620/640/660 - by the turn of the millenium - KTM were a force to be reckoned. In 2002 they came to Dakar with their newly developed LC8 950 Rallye twin cylinder machine... and won at the bikes competition debut*, with Meoni backing up for his second straight victory.(* It is possible that the 950 had it's first tests/shakedown at either Tunisia or Atlas/Marocco in late 2001... I am not sure?). But the relatively short development time, and convincing success of the LC8 in it's short (barely 18 month) competition rally career, make this a noteworthy mention in the context of Pete640's question. As a a result of this success... the LC8 and various model offspring went on to enjoy showroom sales success the world over - which continues even 10 years later.

Since that time no other factory team has put a dent in the KTM stranglehold of the DAKAR trophy cabinet.

Though there have been some notable efforts... Yamaha returned to the DAKAR in 2004 with a David and Goliath effort teaming David Fretigné on a sole Yamaha France supported WR 450F against an armada of factory KTM 660 Rallye's. A far cry from the YME factory hey days of 1991 - 1998; back when Stephan Perfecthansel and the YZE 850 T (Super Ténéré) almost completely dominated the results sheets. Fretigné and Yamaha persevered with the formula of the lighter 450cc machine (they can boast to being the light that showed the way at least ), but even with the technical finess of the 2-trac drive system (later abandonned), the Yamaha/Fretigné effort failed to garner more than occassional fleeting stage victories against the orange clones between 2004 and 2010.

Aprilia came to the party in 2009/2010, hoping to upset the applecart with it's potent 450cc twin cylinder rally bike... and although some galant fights have been put up by Chaleco Lopez and the Giofil-ites, they have never toppled the Austrian orange merchants from their throne.

Also recently the BMW/Speedbrain/Husqvarna trinity has thrown it's cards onto the table... and shown formidable potential... but to date no major victory to speak of in Dakar.

So... to the crux of Pete640's question...? Can a newly formed factory team - the likes of the Bordone-Ferrari team, or the recently announced Honda HRC factory effort, take themselves to DAKAR 2013 and take on the the team that is on top of the heap (and has been for a decade) and grab a debut (of sorts) victory?

Well, it won't be an easy task at all... KTM have a lot of miles under their belt, a proven machine, a team with routine and experience... and the stand out two best rally riders for the last eight years on their bikes.... but it has been done before (kind of), so who knows...? I t could happen again?

January 2013 is not gonna lack anything in terms of rampant speculation and intrigue - once again it would seem...?

troy safari carpente screwed with this post 07-04-2012 at 02:03 PM Reason: a bit of grammar
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